Archives March 2010

Android Contact’s Birthdays In Your Calendar

I’ve had my Android phone a week and a half now and I love it.  It brings everything together in to one phone.  Perhaps that is why they called it the Nexus One?

But there was one “link” missing.  If you spent time entering birthday information for as many of your contacts as possible, they don’t show up in your calendar.  Even my girlfriend’s Blackberry does this, surely Android can.  I had downloaded an App from the market call EboBirthday.  While the app worked, it still had a flaw.  The birthdays didn’t show up in you calendar.  If you wanted to see what birthdays were coming up, you had to actually open up the EboBirthday app.  And on top of that, if you added in any new birthday information, you had to manually resync the EboBirthday app.  Rats… this isn’t the best solution.

Well, last night I was playing around and Google Calendar, and there is actually an option tucked away, built right in to Google Calendar, that lets you show your contact birthday infromation right on the Calendar!

Here is how you add it on:

Go to the Google Calendar web interface on your computer (google.com/calendar).

1) Click the settings button in the upper right

2) Click the “Calendars” settings tab

3) In the Other Calendars section click “Browse Interesting Calendars”

4) Click the More tab here

5)  You should see an item labeled “Contacts’ birthdays and events”, click the Subscribe link. (While you’re in here, you might want to poke around.  There may be some other calendars you’re interested in adding in to your own as well, such as holidays and stuff!)

That’s it!  In a couple minutes, all your contact birthdays will show up on the Calendar in your phone.  How cool is that?

While this is a nice feature to have available, it highlights one of the issues with Android and Google integration right now.  When you’re looking for a setting, it’s not always in the most obvious place, and some times you can only change it on the web.  However, I do expect as Android matures, we will see a lot more features and options added directly in to the Android OS.  I love Android and I suspect will be sticking with it for a long time to come!

New Wave Communications: The Worst ISP in America

It’s hard to even figure out where to start with a company as truly awful as New Wave Communications is, but I’ll do my best to start where my problems with them started, which is as soon as the took over my local cable network from Charter Cable in Spring of 2008.

Since the very first day New Wave took over and my IP address switched to their network I have had atrocious service, and no one from New Wave cares about it.  By fall 2008 I had called them no less then 10 times over a network congestion issue. I honestly lost count of how many calls I made and every single time I reached a “tech support” person, they were 100% incapable of understanding my problem and 100% unwilling to even do anything to attempt to solve it.  The exact problem I was having was network congestion.  During peak internet usage hours (evenings after work and weekends… basically any time I wanted to actually USE my internet), the service was unusable.  My ping times would often shoot from 30ms ping times to over 500ms ping times during peak hours.  Trying to use my “broadband” service for any “broadband” activities like streaming video, playing games online, was 100% out of the question.  Pages would often take minutes to load, streaming even music was not even possible.

At the time I didn’t know exactly what was happening, so I took it upon myself to write a script that sent out 1 ping per minute and log the response time.  After running the script for a few days I quickly realized that my problem was because of network congestion.  The sad thing is, I diagnosed in a few days, what New Wave had been unable to tell me for months.

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It’s 2010, do you know where your balls are?

Apparently HP does.  In their mice.

Come on people.  It’s 2010.  Optical mice can be had from Newegg for $4.  I can’t believe ball-mice are still being packaged with new machines.  And this wasn’t even a cheap piece of crap Acer, this came with a brand new HP Proliant server!  Sheesh.  Spare no expense with that fancy fuckin technology why don’t yah?

I guess since it’s a server it’ll be remoted in to 99% of the time anyway, but still.  Like it would’ve broken HP’s bank to throw an optical mouse in there?

I had forgotten how absolutely frustrating ball mice are with out a perfectly flat surface until now.  Thanks HP.

Windows 7 Annoyance: File Properties

For the most part Windows 7 is great.  There are a fewthingsabout it that annoy me, and I have found another.  This “feature” has popped up a couple times and is very frustrating when it does.

For files created/modified in the last 24 hours, Windows 7 does not display the file time in the File Properties dialog.  It just gives a very unspecific “X hours ago”.  What the fuck is this shit?

So if I wanted to know the EXACT time this file was created, I can’t see that.  Fan-fucking-tastic idea Microsoft.  Where do you idiots come up with this shit?  Seriously, who ever thought this was a good idea should be punched square in the balls.  What good does “5 hours ago” do.  Ok, so it was created some time 5 hours ago, giving an hour of buffer time in there.  That really doesn’t help me.

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Java: A Malware Writer’s Dream Come True

Not too long ago I wrote about how to Make Firefox More Secure by Disabling Java in it.  Since I wrote that article in November, nearly every malware cleanup I have done since then has used Java as it’s injection vector, and that has been quite a lot.  This has become a HUGE wide spread security issue for Windows users, and it’s all thanks to Oracle’s Java plugin for web browsers.

Java isn’t supposed to allow apps with out a certificate to execute unless the user gives it permission to.  The problem is that there are bugs in the Java plugin that allow malicious apps to still run, regardless of the user clicking allow or block!  I don’t know if the latest Java update version has patched these holes or not.  Every system I have seen though has been running Java 6, just one of the lower update numbers (they’re on update 18 at the time of this writing).  Compounding the issue is that most people never update Java.  Heck, I hardly ever used it, so I never updated it either.

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The Achievers: The Story of the Lebowski Fans Losers

First off, let me say I love The Big Lebowski.  I have attended local Lebowski events and had a blast at them.  It’s one of those movies that you watch the first time and you’re just confused.  You get some of the obvious jokes, but you’re mostly left going wtf was that?  Pretty soon you’ll end up watching it again, and then you really start catching the little things.  All of the tiny details in the dialog and in the background and you find yourself cracking up through out the whole thing.  It’s easily one of my favorite movies.

For this reason I knew I had to rent The Achievers: The Story of the Lebowski Fans when I heard about it.

First I’ll get in to ways that it was good:  It burnt an hour and 10 minutes up of my borring night.

Next let’s get to ways that it was lame:  There is no menu system.  You put the disc in and the movie starts playing.  Seriously, I can make better DVD’s on my computer with free software.  The movie was also not widescreen, parts of it are letter-boxed, parts of it are full screen (4:3).  It’s like they couldn’t pick a format.  Not a good start already.
They thoroughly interviewed the guy who played Saddam and the guy who played the Corvette owner.  The check out girl (on screen for 4 seconds), and her twin sister are in there too.  Oh yeah, and Liam (not a single speaking part).  Wow, great, you got people that were on screen for a combined total of less then a minute.  REALLY?  You couldn’t get any of the actual actors in the movie that had real parts??  Well, they DID talk to Jeff Bridges… what looked like outside a night club at 3am for 30 seconds.  What was weird though was Jeff Bridges was at a Lebowski event, and they have footge of him there.  But they couldn’t sit him down for a real interview?  Pretty crappy.

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